Monday, November 30, 2009

Family Ties: What We Talked About At Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, my son brought home the most delightful girlfriend.  I’m so pleased that he loves us enough to share her.  They cuddled and cooed all weekend. 

He hummed a happy song every morning as he made his coffee.  I’m usually the first one up, and sit in the relative quiet with my laptop and play.  In the past, he'd groan a hello and head outside for his breakfast cigarette.  No longer.  He's quit smoking, and his "Good Morning!" is electric.  The network news is usually on in the background, and never failed to spark conversation.

These are some of the things we discussed:

  1. Social workers burning out because of onerous rules imposed from above that prevent them from actually helping people.
  2. Obama being a tool of the capitalist regime.
  3. Thomas Edison stealing patents and being an all-round scumbag.
  4. The divide between the ultra-wealthy in America and everyone else widening.
  5. The Vietnam War ending because the Viet Cong wouldn’t give up.
  6. The military cover-up of rape of female enlistees and civilians by American combatants.
  7. Obama reneging on his promise to get us out of Afghanistan.
  8. America kowtowing to Israel.
  9. My objections to being called old-fashioned for quoting, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” 
  10. The American government doesn’t really want to capture Osama bin Laden; he’s a red herring, and most likely already dead.
  11. Local government control is better than big government.
  12. There is no longer a middle class in America.
  13. Every American should have access to quality healthcare.
  14. People talk about their pets in order to avoid substantive conversations with their fellow citizens.
  15. Thomas Edison arranged to have an already doomed circus elephant electrocuted.  His only objection was that he preferred to say the elephant was “Westinghoused.”
  16.  A college education doesn’t mean much anymore in terms of getting meaningful employment.
  17. Employers don’t want employees who think.  This might lead to asking for benefits.
  18. Not calling me old-fashioned.
  19. Using the term “mentally ill” rather than crazy when referring to the person heading toward you on the sidewalk who is gesturing widely and talking loudly, and who has no visible Bluetooth.
  20. Addressing the question of whether pc terms help make society better.
  21. Transgender issues: can a female personality trapped inside a man, or a male personality trapped inside a woman ever be allowed free expression and acceptance without having to resort to surgery?
  22. Are compassion and pity the same thing?
  23. Monogamy as a social construct to control property.
  24. Living outside the grid.
  25. The overuse, misuse and abuse of the word “like.”
  26. The French Revolution being ill devised since it led to Napoleon.
  27. Tours of Israel where you’re shown only what they want you to see.  They don’t want you to see any Palestinians.
  28. The American tax rate for the wealthiest citizens was 90% during WWII; been sliding down ever since.
  29. The traditional who, what, when & where of journalism has been replaced by opinion in the guise of real news. 
  30. Democracy has failed in America.  People feel powerless and disenfranchised.
  31. Blackwater runs our military drones, not the military.
  32. World hunger could be ended with under $50 billion.
  33. Blood diamonds, Congo gold, and human rights violations to make a few men rich in the world.
  34. P.O.C.'s are people of color.  I'm a diluted one of those.
  35. Patience comes with experience, not with age.
  36. The importance of never referring to me as old-fashioned.

Thanksgiving day was sunny and we walked to a local deli for brunch.  Dinner was later than I'd planned, but everyone pitched in and it was delicious.  The conversation was scintillating, and everyone pitched into that, too.  We didn't agree on everything.  Often, we needed to define and parse our terms to discover how close we were in our feelings about the world.

I felt like we were in a Norman Rockwell painting, a really radical one, where the family loves fiercely - each other, their words, their ideas for their country.


  1. Love the illustrations...and the prose. Glad to be part of the debate.

  2. Your son sounds very informed. You should be proud.

  3. Holy Smokes.. I could only hope ONE day we have 1/4 of the conversations you have...

  4. Sounds like a good old-fashioned sort of family Turkey Day ;-P